Pakistan held by South Korea in junior Asia Cup

July 13th, 2008 - 9:44 pm ICT by IANS  

By Avishek Roy
Hyderabad, July 13 (IANS) South Korea converted a last-minute penalty corner to halt Pakistan’s stunning comeback 3-3 in a thrilling Group B match of the Junior Asia Cup hockey tournament at the Gachibowli stadium here Sunday. Pakistan staged a recovery after being two goals down to lead 3-2 through Kashif Ali’s brace and Inayat Ali’s strike in the second half, leaving the Koreans gasping for breath.

Korea fired in the equaliser through Nam Hyun Woo sounding the board in the last minute of the match.

Hyun, who played brilliantly throughout the match, also scored the first goal through penalty corner before Lim Woo Geun gave Korea a 2-0 cushion in the first half.

The draw has opened up the Group B. Three times champion Pakistan have four points from two matches and they will have to win their last pool match against Bangladesh (3 points) to reach the semifinal. Bangladesh raised their game to beat Oman 7-1 in another match Sunday.

Korea too have four points from two matches and will play lowly Oman in their last match.

The match truly lived up to the billing and though Pakistan struggled in the first half, they fought back with vengeance in the action-packed second half.

With 20 minutes remaining in the match, Pakistan got their bearings right when Inayat Ali intercepted a pass and managed well to push the ball inside the goalpost with a circle of defenders around.

That gave a fresh lease of life to Pakistan and they displayed some attacking hockey after that. Koreans were clueless as Pakistan launched a brutal offensive that ripped apart their defence.

Kashif converted a penalty corner in the 55th minute and with the scores level, it was a treat to watch as both teams went into attacking mode to take the lead with the time running out fast.

Kashif again struck from a penalty corner in the 67th minute and it seemed they will have the last laugh. In between Korea was unfortunate not to have been awarded a penalty corner in the 65th minute.

Korea though got their reward as Hyun converted the last minute penalty corner and brought cheers to the entire camp.

Earlier, Bangladesh trounced Oman 7-1 in the first match. It was a strong comeback for Bangladesh who had lost their first match 8-0 against Korea. The win has kept themselves alive in the tournament

Strongly built Oman tried their best to stop Bangladesh forwards but to no avail. Basim Rajab scored the only goal for Oman.

Bangladesh captain Rasel Mahmud (17th, 63rd) and Mohammed Hasan Jubair (50th, 56th) scored two goals each, while Krishno Kumir (32nd), Rimon Kumar Gosh (23rd) and Ashaduzzaman Chandan (68th) shared three goals between them.

Bangladesh had a 2-1 lead at the break and were aggressive and attacking in the second half too. Despite missing almost half a dozen open net chances, they struck five goals after the breather.

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